The Problem with Epic

Epic. I can’t stand that word.

More precisely, I can’t stand advice from gurus that says epic is what you should strive for.

It’s all over: Write epic posts. Create epic content. Think of epic ideas. BE epic, for the love of Pete. Else clearly you’re a LOSER.

Why should we strive for epic in the first place? Striving for “epic” leaves no room for improvement. Once you’ve reached it, that’s it – what else can you do except try to be more epic?

So where does this epic-quest end? Nowhere except a looming pitfall of doom called failure. Either you wrote epic stuff or you didn’t. Fail.

That’s not much fun for anyone who happens to just be fairly great or even merely good enough.

While we’re on the subject, could someone tell me exactly what “epic” means? What’s an epic post made of? How does it work? Show me the checklist. Teach me the guidelines. I want the recipe for epic.

Oh, wait, that’s right – epic is a subjective word. What’s epic to you isn’t epic to me, and so forth and so on. (Looks like we have a little problem, n’est pas?)

Here’s the truth: “Epic” is a very poor goal indeed. You can’t always write epic posts. You can’t always think epic thoughts. You can’t always do epic stuff.

You shouldn’t even want to, honestly. Who wants the standard of EPIC ONLY constantly hounding them, with everything else that falls short a reminder of our ungreatness?

Not me, that’s who.

Being epic all the time isn’t realistic.  “Just okay” is plenty acceptable. In fact, it should be embraced and welcomed so more people feel comfortable writing something that’s fairly fine. No epic required.

Imagine what might happen then. Fear of failure might wither up. Writer’s block might disappear forever. More people might hit ‘publish’ on their post without worrying whether it’s epic enough or not.

And that’s how it should be. After all, we’re only human. No one handed us inherent epic when we were born. We got table rosa, some innate talent and a few natural abilities to work with.

That’s it. That’s all.

Sure, we grew up and gained life experience, a few skills and some job history along the way, but that doesn’t sound like much to work with. Sure, we can want to push ourselves, and strive to do better and become better people for it, but… epic?

Forget that.

Besides, we should want less-than-epic in our lives. If we didn’t have the good, the bad and the ugly to compare against, it’d get boring. Epic wouldn’t be epic anymore. It’d just be the norm.

Nothing special about that.

You need bad days to make the good ones stand out. You need crappy posts to make the good ones shine. You need all the average stuff so that when something really great comes along, everyone notices.

You don’t ever want to get to the point where you say, “Jeez, another epic post? I think I’ve read 40 today…”

I don’t want anything to do with epic. I refuse to make epic the standard I always strive for when I write. It’s too high for my tastes, and I’d much rather aim for “good enough”.

No stress. No pressure. No writer’s block. No need to beat myself up because I’m not producing epic work. I’m just an everyday person with knowledge to share who writes a fair hand.

That way I’m pleasantly surprised by “better than usual” and comfortably fine with what I generally produce the rest of the time. It’s like getting flowers when you least expect them. Out of the blue. And for no reason.

So this post isn’t epic. I didn’t even try to make it epic. I wrote it in about an hour, in between emails and phone calls and all sorts of distractions. I gave it a quick edit, and then purposefully published it without thinking. No regrets.

I wrote a perfectly average, un-epic piece.

And I didn’t even care.

Here’s what I care about: Sharing good advice. Telling stories. Extending opinions. Teaching from experience. Helping others. Making the world a little bit of a better place, even if only for one person.

That’s what matters. That’s all I ask of myself. I cut myself slack.

Maybe you should too.

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.